On June 7, The Haverford School conducted its 135th Commencement ceremony and graduated 102 members of the Class of 2019.
They are scholars, artists, athletes, and most of all, they are men of character who have worked hard to live up to the standards set by generations of Haverford men before them.
The Commencement speaker was Ali Velshi, MSNBC Anchor and NBC News and MSNBC Business Correspondent. The community also heard from Headmaster John Nagl, Board Chairman Bill Yoh '89, and Student Body President Biagio DeSimone.
"Be aware that criticism of privilege is a discussion we are having in the whole in society. It’s not meant to target you personally, but to target a structure that doesn’t always distribute opportunity fairly. It is useful for all of us, every day, to acknowledge the privilege that society, our education, our economic situation, the country in which we live and, possibly the color of our skin or the groups to which we belong afford us. There is no wrong or right answer here.
"But it is a fact that society is easier on some of us than it is on others, and understanding keenly how advantaged or disadvantaged you are, as compared to others with whom you interact, is something that will guide your relationships, personally and professionally. Acknowledging and learning how to think about and talk about and manage and share your advantages will allow you to understand what an important discussion this is. The world will move forward, possibly at a faster pace than it was moving when I was your age. You want to do what this school has trained you to do: lead that movement."
"We applaud the teachers’ partnership and candor with the boys to surface and wrestle with topics of not just local, but national and international prominence, including race relations, respect for women, drug and alcohol use, and honesty and stealing. Haverford – like any other school community – is not immune to these critical issues.
"What differentiates us are the openness of our discourse and the pursuit of appropriate freedom of expression and respect for others. You teachers know that there are times to teach students what to think and times to teach them how to think. In short, you have helped build the character in these young men that the world needs now more than ever."
"To all the faculty sitting in front of our class today, thank you. I know it has not always been easy with our class. You have been more than our teachers. You have taught us lessons from textbooks, but the most valuable things we have learned from you came outside of the lesson plans. In some way, all of you have shaped the young men sitting on this stage today."